Apple about to give the world an AI personal assistant? Will people like it?

“Apple has popularized some revolutions in how we use personal computers in its time: the graphical interface, the mouse, and the touch screen, for example,” Tom Simonite writes for MIT Technology Review.

“Tuesday could see the company add to that list of milestones in man-machine interaction by letting users control a computer by having a conversation with it,” Simonite writes. “Apple’s new boss, Tim Cook, will take the stage at the company’s California headquarters to announce the latest updates to the company’s products. Apple’s invite to the event says only ‘Let’s Talk iPhone,’ but the Internet rumor mill has decided that Cook will announce two things: a fifth model of the iPhone; and a voice-activated ‘Assistant’ for iPhone and iPad devices, based on an impressive app called Siri that was bought by Apple last year.”

Simonite writes, “Making it simple to set up calendar invites or find a nearby movie just by conversing with your iPhone or iPad would break new ground. It’s also the kind of achievable revolution that Apple is known for… If it does arrive on Tuesday, it will likely condense a boatload of technology into one simple thing: a computer interface you converse with. If done well, that could see Apple once again shift what it means to use a computer… Questions remain in my mind, though, about the limits Apple will have placed on Assistant to have it live up to the company’s own high standards. Creating a voice-based interface is easy, but creating one that, in Steve Jobs’s words, “just works” is not.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. With almost every major shift that Apple has pioneered, the usefulness hasn’t really hit me until after I’ve tried it out. More recently, I didn’t think I would want to carry around so much music with me until I had to go without an iPod; I never thought a phone would be so important in my daily activities until I’ve had to go with an iPhone. Similarly, voice control seems like one of those things that I’ve tried and passed on. I know I have access to it and I know that it has some utility but I just can’t see how it would incorporate itself into my day-to-day life… It will be interesting to go into this announcement fully aware of comparable situations in the past.

  2. Wouldn’t you look like a silly retard walking the streets or riding the subway while giving instructions to your phone?

    I know of several instances it might come in useful like when you’re driving but by and large I prefer using my fingers to type or navigate the menu. I have Dragon Dictate installed on my iPhone but I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve used it to dictate a mail or SMS.

    But I’m sure it’ll be useful, somehow. BTW I have Siri installed too but apart from a few occasions where I’ve used it, it remains quite dormant on my phone.

    1. I think, much like a lot of the other 3rd party vs built into the OS apps, the ones that built into iOS generally offer more functionality. I’ve used the Dragon app a few times to dictate e-mails and text messages but when you’re finished, you still have to go in and do something with the text (send it as a text, email, copy it into a calendar event, etc). With the rumours for Assisstant, being able to create reminds, create calendar events, send e-mails using voice end-to-end, may prove to be the missing piece that makes it leap from a casual-use function, to one you use regularly.

  3. People will like it if it works right. Otherwise, Doonesbury will do a full week of cartoons lampooning it, as it did to the Newton’s print recognition feature.

  4. A true Personal Assistant as observer above has eluded to, it could be that ‘2-degree shift off the current technology impact timeline’ that futurists think about sitting on sides of mountains in a wilderness or hang gliding in the middle of the rockies… If a real PA comes to market it could put a stake in the heart of, and be a career-modifying moment, for many physical input gurus, around the globe.

    This is one of the only articles I’ve seen that actually includes the iPad as being impacted by any good PA product. No question it will impact those with an iPhone but the impact on folks that only use iPad could be enormous. Just consider doctors or pilots as a start…. the implications are staggering.

  5. Happen to have my favorite radio station in Los Angeles (KFI) on and just heard Rush Limbaugh giving Apple scads of free publicity over what’s happening tomorrow. He seems to be VERY knowledgable of all the rumors and speculation and is tormented like most about what actually will transpire tomorrow. Whatever you think about Rush he is an avid and insatiable Apple fan and at least he has good taste in this regard and passes on the fruity love to an audience who might not normally hear at least this convenient happy truth. BTW this isn’t about politics but the united and proactive Apple community which Rush, love him or leave him, is still a part in this great nation of ours.

    1. However some of you hate him, we’re all the same under the Apple Skin.
      Rush is the ultimate Apple Fan. He can buy what he wants as soon as the next cool thing is out, and he reaches millions with his pro-Apple views. I’d love to know how many switchers he’s inspired.

      As for the new stuff—The day the Personal Assistant makes dinner for me and/or cleans the house, I’ll find the money to buy it at ANY cost.

      1. One thing that Apple has done recently is to make software that is smart enough to learn from how you use it. We saw it initially with the junk mail filtering in Mail, the spell chech in iOS learns to adapt to your vocabulary and iPhoto learns to identify people that you regularly photograph.

        My guess is the the assistant will also learn from the way that you speak and the more you use it, the more accurate it wi become.

    2. I started having a conversation with someone about “converting” to Apple devices. I brought up Howard Stern who, over the past year, has switched from BB, to Android (briefly) and then to the iPhone. A lot of this was because of how much he liked the iPad. He ended up with an iMac and a laptop because of all of that.
      Long story short, my conversation ended up getting sidetracked because it became a discussion about Howard Stern the personality, not the Apple user/fan giving them free publicity. Interesting how that happens.

  6. Is there any way to listen to the event tomorrow on the iPhone? Live or maybe delayed an hour or something?

    I’ll be at work, and only Internet access will be my iPhone. Would love to listen to the event live. I’d have to wait till I got home to watch the event, granted I could read about the details.. But I’d rather listen while I work.

  7. See from 1:30 to 5:30 (watch the whole vid to see what Apple is building.

    The fact that this is from 1995, pre Steve, says to me that Apples future is very bright.

    1. The first half of the video, I have seen many times before.
      The second half, I have never come across.

      Thanks you for sharing.

      Yes, Voice shall play a huge role in the search and discoveries of information. And, iCloud shall one day provide this gateway for connecting and harvesting those searches in far more enriching ways. Looks bright – Apples future for sure.

      as seen on here

    2. Apple also created the ‘Future Shock’ video (circa 1988) that showed their vision of the future. It also had an ‘assistant’, touch screen, gesture input, voice control, video conferencing, and short range wireless connectivity (kitchen scale, microwave, etc), curved glass and even something that looks similar to the Nike+ SportBand. And I bet that there are other Apple visions in this video that I haven’t even begun to recognize. Check it out… see what Apple’s vision of the future is like.

  8. I hope it works better with the Australian accent than all other attempts at speech recognition systems out there!
    But it always provided good comedy to hear a frustrated secretary attempt a U.S. accent just to get a dictation program to recognise the spoken word 🙂

  9. I been busy looking for either AT&T video where they actually have a device with a APPLE logo or a StarWars movie where a rookie uses a APPLE branded device… anyone know.

  10. I sure hope when I tell it to look up a restaurant it does not call my brother-in-law in Thailand… My iPhone did something similar a few times already so I stopped using the speech altogether…

  11. If this were the case, I’d buy it straight away. I need one…

    “Alert, incoming parcel with an ETA of 30 minutes. Courier will request a signature at delivery. Also, you have two messages in your inbox, James Squire is requesting urgent meetings at 4 pm in the bunker room for Golf and Beer. Details are scarce.”

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